When Church Is About The Color of The Carpet, Satan Smiles!

Posted: February 18, 2015 in 99-Uncategorized

Luke 10:1-16 — Today, we move on to vv. 5-7 of this passage. These verses are Jesus’ instructions on what to do when they arrive in their appointed town. It reminds me of growing up as a Methodist preacher’s kid. Methodist preachers when they are moved have a specified moving day, the third Wednesday in June. On those days, you would arrive at your dad’s new appointment, the new town, the new church(es). When the moving van would pull up to parsonage, the members of the church would attract there like bees to honey. Bring cakes, pies, and other food, the members of the church would welcome us to town. It would be interesting to see who showed up. Those who were just curious about the new preacher and his family would come. Those who had an agenda would come. And as interesting would those that did not show up. Everyone vying for the attention of the new pastor. You see it still in today’s churches, pastors have to be careful among whom they make their friends among the church people so as to make sure that a celebrity status does not start and people then lose focus on what church is supposed to be about. It is also kind of like these large corporations out there that were once solely focused on one thing and were good at. Somewhere along the way these companies start acquiring other companies that have nothing to do with the original purpose of the company. In a lot of cases, these companies begin to lose their way and begin to founder and lose momentum and eventually destroy themselves. They forgot what they were good at, what they were created for. They forgot their mission.

Jesus’ instruction to stay in one house allowed the disciples to avoid certain problems. Shifting from house to house could offend the families that first took them in. Some families might begin compete for the disciples attention while some might get the feeling that they are not good enough to host them. In all this competition and jealousy, the message would have gotten lost. Because of actions that create human jealousy, a whole people group might reject Jesus and His message when He arrived in that town. Jesus’ concern here was make sure that things that don’t really matter in eternity did not get in the way of His message of God’s love. Sometimes, we get so caught up in who’s doing what with who in church that we forget the whole point of our existence as a church and that is spreading the message of God’s love expressed through His Son Jesus Christ.

If we let ourselves descend into petty jealousies that message gets lost and Satan smiles. If we get caught up in the color of the carpet, or who is on what committee, or who is in what position of leadership, and why we were not tapped on the shoulder for it, we miss the message and we become about what you can do for me. We should all be eager to serve in whatever capacity that God has called us to serve within our local body. If we are not willing to serve in a capacity that is available and serve under the leadership of others, we must re-examine why we are offended. Is it because of ego? We must have the attitude that God has us serving where He wants us to serve at this moment in time for a reason, for learning, then we can really focus on spreading the message of God’s love for us to others rather than being concerned about who said what, us vs. them, and creating our own power base, our own church within a church. We have all seen churches torn apart by petty politics in our lifetimes. New churches are supposed to be created as church plants, but many new churches are created by church splits. These are the things that breaks Jesus’ heart is when a church loses sight of its purpose and goes off the cliff like a train off its rails. Let us not be this church. Let us seek unity with one another through discussion and let us align ourselves with the leadership that God has presented to us at this moment in time. Let us be about the business of the church – expanding Christ’s kingdom here on earth.

Jesus also settles the issue of whether those who are His messengers deserve their pay. It is a definitive yes. Some are called to be pastors and leaders of the flocks entrusted to their care. We should never use their pay as a weapon to control them, to get what we want. They are called by God not by the church they serve. They have a right to support their families just as we do. Their salaries should never be a political issue about between competing interests within the local church. We should never withhold our giving just because the preacher preached a sermon that hit a sore spot with us. We should never withhold our giving just because the preacher seems to like another member more than you. Our giving (which happens to support our pastors and the work of the church locally) should never be about the pastor, or who’s doing what with who, it should be in obedience to the commands that God has given us.

All of us should be about the business of the church not the politics of it. We should remember that church is not really about us at all. It is about glorifying God. It is about equipping the saints to go outside the four walls of the church to reach a world that so desperately needs to know of God’s love and about the salvation and reconciliation that comes through a relationship with the one and only way to Him, Jesus Christ. Petty politics seem kind of petty when you think of people out there never knowing the name of Jesus Christ. Lost souls are our business. Not who picked who. Not who said what. Not who is in what position.

Father in Heaven, thank you for today’s reminder that we are in the lost souls business not about pleasing ourselves within the four walls of our churches. We are to be about one thing, reaching the lost with the gospel message. Let us make sure that we ask that question before we do anything at church. Are my motives about reaching lost souls with the gospel message or are they about something else. If they are about something else, we must reexamine ourselves, ask for Your forgiveness, Father, and ask for you to guide us back to the mission. Amen.

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